Joseph Hansen

Go Forward

(30 November 1940)

Source: Socialist Appeal, Vol. 4 No. 48, 30 November 1940, p. 4.
Transcription/HTML Markup: 2019 by Einde O’Callaghan.
Public Domain: Joseph Hansen Internet Archive 2020; This work is completely free. In any reproduction, we ask that you cite this Internet address and the publishing information above.

Latin American Workers Face U.S. Imperialism

Vice-President Wallace, the press informs us, has been studying Spanish the past few years. His interest in this language is not strictly cultural. He is learning Spanish the better to represent the interests of American imperialism in the coming period. For the expansive force of imperialism follows geographic; lines and the first area of conquest for U.S. imperialism is Latin America.

Wallace has already been detailed to represent Washington at the inauguration of President-Elect Camacho in Mexico City on December 1. Almazan, who pretended to be the legally elected president of Mexico has thus been discarded by Washington after being held on the shelf since last July pending “conversations” with the representatives of the Mexican bourgeoisie over the oil expropriations, naval and air bases, and the construction of military highways connecting with the great military highways in the United States.

The Junket of Wallace to Mexico City is thus part; of the drive of U.S. imperialism south of the Rio Grande.

In Brazil, the controlled press applauded the idea of “mutual friendship” visits such as that of Wallace to Mexico.

For despots such as Vargas in Brazil and throughout South America it is largely a question of the price that can be obtained through conceding to one or another of the imperialist powers. And this price is expressed in the form of “loans” after “good neighbor” visits to Washington.

A commission from Argentina, for example, is holding out for a $250,000,000 loan before cementing a “friendship” with the U.S. imperialism which would include construction of naval and air bases on the Rio Plata. Of the South American nations Argentina has up to date carried on the most independent policy in relation to the United States. This was due to the fact that her exports, grain, beef, hides, etc. were barred from this country by high tariffs and went to Europe, principally to England.

The commission which is dreaming of the $250,000,000 loan is also asking the Washington administration to make possible the export of agricultural products from Argentina to the United States. But this can only be done at the expense of the agricultural areas. And the switch in the farm vote in the recent election into the Republican camp has already given warning to Roosevelt that the farmers are in no mood to brook increased competition in a market already glutted with agricultural products.

The Roosevelt Administration which could find no solution to over-production save curtailing and destroying crops here at home, will find it scarcely possible to grant the Argentine request that the customs let down the barriers to her surpluses.

The Case of Martinique

Already Washington has obtained eight new military bases from Great Britain along the Atlantic coast from New Foundland to Trinidad.

The use to which Roosevelt intends to put these bases are shown clearly in the case of Martinique, French possession in the Caribbean.

Operating from the newly acquired base of St. Lucia, U.S. warships are patrolling the vicinity of Martinique, enabling British warships to withdraw for service in the North Atlantic. But the island of Martinique possesses one of the finest harbors in the Caribbean, and on top of this there are 110 American bombers on the Island which were sold to the French government before the capitulation to Hitler.

Washington wants these bombers, the harbor, and in fact the entire island, and the neighboring one of Guadeloupe.

Already the capitalist press is laying down the appropriate barrage of propaganda preparatory to direct military action. The New York Times began the campaign with queries about these 110 airplanes gathering rust in the Caribbean. But the New York Post has been the most blatant. In an editorial in the November 14 issue it demands: “Why is it important for the free nations of the Western Hemisphere to wrest control of the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe from ‘France’ at once?” And then after an argument as to the desirability of Martinique coming under U.S. domination, the Post declares: “Our interests command action at once.”

As if this language were not strong and plain enough, the Post editorial referred to what purports to be an inside story on conditions on Martinique published the previous day. The story describes the influx of Nazi agents who presumably were sent to agitate the native population against the United States. It speaks of military preparations for defense of Martinique, the possibility of Martinique being used as a base for German invasion of the Western Hemisphere.

The people are starving to death, the article reports – which is probably true as all the Latin American peoples suffer in frightful poverty, although without commiseration from the capitalist press until it is deemed feasible to seize them from a rival power.

The people of Martinique, reports the article “want to come under the wing of the U.S.” and “the 250.000 inhabitants of the island are on the verge of revolution, but have no arms to rise against the rulers.”

What is this but the classic formula of imperialist conquest? The islands are a rich prize; enemy forces are free to utilize them; the people are starving; they “want” to come under the imperialist wing; they are even ready to carry out a revolution if they are aided with arms – all this sounds like Hitler himself announcing the formula for further expansion! Imperialism speaks the same language the world over!

Time To Learn Spanish!

For the workers of the United States the expansion of American imperialism southward increases. the need for stronger ties with the workers of Latin America in order to obtain greater unity and striking power against the common enemy.

Wallace’s example is not bad – it is time to learn to speak Spanish!


Last updated on: 14 November 2020